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Old 09-21-2012, 05:50 AM   #16
hippiebrian
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The further this gets, the more beautiful the Tiger looks!
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Old 09-21-2012, 12:39 PM   #17
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Day 3

When I woke up in the morning, it was once again stupidly cold. I disassembled my tent as quickly as possible, but it was extremely difficult to fasten things down to the bike, as that requires slightly more in the way of fine motor skills than what frozen hands can provide. I eventually got all of my things safely back on the bike and set off for gas and breakfast. My day's destination would be Austin, NV.

Gas and breakfast were delicious, and I oiled my chain in the McDonald's parking lot before beginning my first voyage west. Returning to Ootah after I had already said my goodbyes was a little bit odd, especially since I would be crossing the width of it that day. I was more than thrilled to backtrack from whence I came on Interstate 80... it was beautiful. I got a few more pictures of the red rocks in the morning light:





At about the time I got those pictures, I realized that in my morning haze I had forgotten to buy a WY sticker! Oh, well - I'll probably live on without it. I cruised through Salt Lake City without incident, and I don't even recall thinking about anything noteworthy while passing through it. I was mostly concerned with getting out of the city and in to the desert.

Before too much lakeless, urban landscape, I finally found this crazy lake that everyone's talking about:





The lake was honestly fascinating, and rather amusing to think about what it once was judging from the previous shoreline etched in to the surrounding mountains. Even though I was many miles from any sort of ocean, it still smelled distinctly like salt air, which threw off my senses a little bit. My spirits were very high that morning, and before long I was pushing across to the western side of Ootah to enjoy the salt flats!

At this point in my journey, I was definitely noticing a pattern of highs and lows mentally. My happiest points were always at the beginning of the day, after I was already on the road. My lowest were always setting up camp by myself at the end of the day. It's probably the combination of loneliness and the distinct lack of daylight to safely continue riding.

I charged across the flat, salty desert at 85 MPH, crossing the vast expanse of Ootah on Interstate 80W. I remember thinking to myself just how huge these salt flats were. If I weren't on an interstate, I'd have probably snapped more pictures on the salt. After two or three hours of changeless scenery, however, I arrived at the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats!



I really wanted to get out there and wander the salt - perhaps even try to see how fast the Triumph would go. World's Fastest Triumph, anyone? Unfortunately some rain had recently rolled through and the salt was wet. I decided against wandering too far or going fast on the salt. I did, however, park the bike a little ways out on the salt for some pictures:





I struck up some conversation with a woman who was there scoping out the salt for the next week's race. She told me about how the salt works seasonally, and a bit about how the mining industry is ruining the salt. She told me about being out on the salt and experiencing complete silence, being able to see the curvature of the Earth, and being able to only see salt in all directions. It was a real shame that I was only passing through.

Onwards and westwards! I had been preparing for this leg of the journey ever since I left White Salmon. I was very excited to get some lonely highway pictures. However, before long I found some roadwork in the middle of nowhere!



I suppose roads need to be repaved periodically - even in the middle of nowhere. The good news is that I was stopped for so long that I had time to get off of the bike, take pictures, and I even topped up my oil!

The goal was to connect Nevada's Highway 93 with Highway 50 (The Loneliest Road in America). Long story short, I took a wrong turn, and ended up taking Highway 93 Alternative back up to Wells, NV and Interstate 80 East. I was heartbroken, to say the least, as I didn't get to experience Highway 50! I didn't want to backtrack 80 miles just to get to some lonely campground that I had slated for the evening, so I decided to make things a little bit more difficult.

I had been noticing that the signs for Reno were getting shorter and shorter. By the time I was in Wells, the sign said 339 miles. It was 3:30 in the afternoon, and I had been on the road since about 8:00 that morning. I changed my game plan, got fuel, and decided to race the sun to Reno!

I suppose my race was doomed from the start, and I would inevitably be riding in the dark once I got there, but I didn't care. I was in go-mode! I absolutely burned across Nevada - scenery that otherwise might have been interesting on Highway 50 was spoiled by how interstates insulate drivers from the very place they're driving through. It was a shame to be 'wasting' so much scenery, but I decided Reno was the goal for tonight.

As the miles were simply melting away, the main thing that I found myself thinking about were these high-visibility flags on work trucks. I couldn't figure out what they were for! They looked like the kind of flag required on sand dunes, but these vehicles clearly weren't going out to the dunes. When I got gas in some random town, I saw a pickup pulled in with one of the flags and asked the driver what it was for. He told me that the flags were required for driving in and around the mines in the area. A simple answer to a question that had been nagging me for the last 200 miles.

After darkness had fallen, I arrived in Reno. I was exhausted and the odometer had logged 700 miles for the day. Evanston, WY to Reno, NV with a detour on Highway 93 is quite the journey. I decided to splurge that night and get a hotel room, so I could melt in to some comfortable bedding. The problem is that I couldn't find a hotel that allowed guests under 21 years old! I was close to just driving out to the National Forest, but instead decided to try my luck at one more hotel. I either got lucky or the front desk lady was very merciful, because she "forgot" to look at the birth date on my ID before giving it back to me and simply asked if I was 21. I lied and said yes, and I finally had a hotel room!

The "I just did 700 miles!" face.



I slept like a rock that night.
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Old 09-21-2012, 01:15 PM   #18
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Great report. Excellent writing! But don't diss your bike - it looks nicely seasoned to me (and anyway, its virtually new).

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Old 09-21-2012, 01:31 PM   #19
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At about the time I got those pictures, I realized that in my morning haze I had forgotten to buy a WY sticker! Oh, well - I'll probably live on without it.

I lived in Wyoming for 34 years and never bought a sticker. Familiarity breeds contempt, I've been told, but I seem to have lived on without one. I suspect you'll be just fine too.

GREAT photo of all the trucks stopped at the road construction! I also love the salt-encrusted, bullet-riddled, sand-blasted Bonnevile Salt Flats sign, pretty much says it all, eh?

What is this shite of no rooms for people under 21 years of age??? Your money isn't any good? You can vote or die for your country in the military, but fuck you if you want a motel room? That is just shameful and I can't think of a single valid reason for such a rule. Good for that kind lady!

I've done a lot of solo touring and really understand what you're saying about the dichotomy of feelings at the beginning and end of the day. Cowboy Junkies do a song with the lyrics something like "I never would have guessed that the world would be so much more beautiful when seen through two sets of eyes". I totally agree, but still maintain the "logistical difficulties" can overshadow the loneliness. Ride on!

More please.

Doug
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Old 09-21-2012, 01:36 PM   #20
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HOLY SHIT! I ran into you out on the road. I was with a group of 3 other guys who stopped when we saw you had a flat tire. I was riding a red Kawasaki ZR7S, and the other bikes were 2 GS 1200's and a Yamaha Super T. Small world!

Here's a pic of me from my trip when I saw you.

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Old 09-21-2012, 01:52 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Z1_NESTer View Post
HOLY SHIT! I ran into you out on the road. I was with a group of 3 other guys who stopped when we saw you had a flat tire. I was riding a red Kawasaki ZR7S, and the other bikes were 2 GS 1200's and a Yamaha Super T. Small world!
I remember that! That was long before my big trip, but thanks again for stopping! I had just put a new tire on the night before, and got a pinch flat on my way to work. I waited several hours for my dad to come save my sorry self with his pickup truck. That was a long morning...

I rode OR Highway 35 more than a hundred times over the summer.
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:36 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Me_Rock View Post
I remember that! That was long before my big trip, but thanks again for stopping! I had just put a new tire on the night before, and got a pinch flat on my way to work. I waited several hours for my dad to come save my sorry self with his pickup truck. That was a long morning...

I rode OR Highway 35 more than a hundred times over the summer.
I hope to make my West again in the future as I really want to ride more of Oregon and Washington.
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Old 09-22-2012, 11:34 AM   #23
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Old 09-22-2012, 12:03 PM   #24
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Cool2

Nice RR and cool tiger!!
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Old 09-23-2012, 04:45 PM   #25
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..."I decided against wandering too far or going fast on the salt." Good choice, I once paid for 3 tow trucks out there in my youthful exuberance which put a damper on my exploration that day.

You’ll find as you ride solo, you may end up preferring it to group riding.

Enjoyed your RR and Pics nice job, way to get out there.
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Old 09-23-2012, 04:59 PM   #26
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You’ll find as you ride solo, you may end up preferring it to group riding.
I agree... true by the 4th or 5th night it can feel a bit lonely setting up camp. But getting up, packed and on the road the morning makes it worth it.

Great story...
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:37 PM   #27
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Great trip and report thanks!

Next time you launch spend a few days orbiting in Idaho, you will enjoy all the awesome river canyons and easy pickings on camping! We have walmarts too!
Cheers!
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:59 PM   #28
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What a wonderful RR! Love the picture of your "I just did 700 miles face." Great scenery and you have a nice way of weaving a story. You can't beat a Triumph. Stay safe, and I look forward to more of your story.
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:02 PM   #29
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As has been said before it does not matter the bike you are on simply that you are on one. Nice writing. Look forward to the rest of your trip.
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Old 09-24-2012, 01:14 AM   #30
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Day 4

I awoke from my glorious slumber ready for another day on the road! Here's a picture from my hotel room:



I didn't intend on day four to be the last day of my trip - in fact, if you remember, I said that this trip would be five days and four nights. Because of a certain misunderstanding of Nevada's highway system, I wound up half a day's ride ahead of where I was supposed to be. So, as I lay in bed pondering my game plan, I had to decide whether to ride only a few hundred miles and adhere to my old plan, find a nice midway, or just make the trip all the way home. I eventually settled on heading all the way home, as 550 miles did not look that intimidating as the 700 miles I had done the day before. Also, with home so near, the thought of experiencing another down and lonely night camping by myself didn't sound very appealing.

I proceeded to fill out the quick-checkout form and make my descent on the elevator. While slightly more showered than I was the night before, I still looked a bit like a bum who'd stolen a motorcycle. Being among all the businessmen on vacation felt a little bit alienating. I was, after all, carrying my things in grocery bags and was wearing a pair of Carhartts that were very severely tattered, faded, and stained with oil. They were closer to white than the original tan they came in. I needed to get the hell out of Reno.

I think the Steamer got slightly lonely that night, but she started up with anger and excitement in that parking garage! Judging by their bikes, I summed up that the old men parked next to me have forgotten what an adventure is, and intend on making no money at a casino as opposed to making no money on a motorcycle.



I had one more thing to do in Reno, and that was to visit the air races. My intent was to stop by and snag some pictures of some gnarly airplanes, but upon arrival, I found that they wanted me to pay more money than I had. An all day ticket for the races was $17, and I had no intention of staying long enough to get my money's worth. I didn't have time to dwell on the inconvenience, so I snapped a few pictures and proceeded west!



I was having a magnificent morning, and I continued in to California on a high note. The interstate border crossing was a bit wild - I had never seen that before. I pulled in to the crossing station, and I think the lady must have realized that I can't be hauling a huge amount of fruit and invasive species on a motorcycle, so I was waved past.

I actually cheated and got this picture as I was leaving California, but would you have noticed if I hadn't said anything?



With something like 500 miles left in the day, I happened upon a shoe tree. A peculiar sight, I thought, so I got a picture of it.



I remember how excited I was that morning to plow through some miles - After leaving the shoe tree I remember thinking something along the lines of, "500 miles to go! Let's do this!"

Northeastern California was more beautiful than I expected. In fact, because I was a day ahead of schedule, I was tempted to punch through to the coast and split Highway 101 in to two days. I decided against it.

Some Northeastern California beauty:







I was making excellent time, and soon punched through in to Oregon. Finally! A familiar state! I must be almost home! Soon after entering Oregon, I fueled up at a mom and pop gas station. I had been procrastinating on cleaning my visor, as all of the other gas stations that I had visited had "bugwater" in their windshield cleaning buckets, which smelled like death. It was marvelously satisfying to finally have a proper soap-and-water smelling bucket with a squeegee to clean my visor, which now had an entire Utah and Nevada's worth of insect accumulation of bugs. If states can be used as units to measure bug accumulation.

I continued north in to Oregon, which was entirely boring, except for the "logistical difficulties" that manfromthestix mentioned. Once in Oregon, I had a little more than 300 miles to do.

Oregon is truly an interesting state. The politicians from the "westside" seem more interested in my own safety than I do. No matter what the highway, the speed limit remains a constant 55 MPH. Nonetheless, I was following some cars with Oregon plates that were going 65+ on their own highways. I was happily doing more than 10MPH over while cruising past Oregon State Patrol cars, and they were not even paying the least bit of attention to the blatant atrocities that I was doing to their speed limits. The staters and I exchanged happy waves while both parties were chugging along easily at 65 or 70 miles per hour each in a 55 MPH zone.

By the time I reached Bend, OR I noticed that I was once again crushed for time. It was going to be dark before I got home, and I realized this. I chugged one more caffeinated beverage and decided that I have to make a solid push (no real breaks) until I got home.

This was the last picture I took on my trip:



The last 140 miles was truly "trippy".

By the time I reached OR Highway 35, I was completely exhausted. I have ridden OR Highway 35 more than a hundred times before going back and forth to work, but never at night. It was excruciatingly cold and scary (way too many deer), so I hunkered down behind a Suburban (an excellent deer deflector) and braved the last 45 miles of my trip. The experience was truly unique, even though I had traveled that particular stretch of road many times before. Most of the trip has the 55MPH Oregon speed limit on it, with two sections of 35 and 45MPH where it passes through a couple of towns. That was easily the most mentally invested I have ever been on that road.

I got back to White Salmon, WA, and finally my parents' driveway. 2000 miles and four days later, my anxious mother gave me a huge hug as I got home. What a fantastic ride!

I hope everyone enjoyed it!
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